Dogs can be wonderful companions and are often part of the family. Trained, well-behaved dogs make life very enjoyable, but that can all change in an instant when a dog attacks. Dog bites can cause severe injury to skin, bone and organs. They may also cause serious infections.
What damages can I recover in a dog bite case?
If you are injured by a dog, you can recover payment for your medical expenses. If your injury was serious (e.g., bone fracture, disfigurement, severe laceration), you can recover for your pain and suffering and for medical expenses incurred to treat your injuries. You can also receive reimbursement for lost wages if you missed time from work due to your injuries.
Who pays for my injuries?
Injuries caused by a dog attack are typically covered by the dog owner's homeowner's insurance. Coverage may also be available under a renter's insurance policy if the dog owner rents his/her living space.
Does the dog have to bite me?
Not necessarily. Dogs can cause injury without actually biting the victim by knocking the person down. This can cause lacerations or serious orthopedic injuries.
Pennsylvania Dog Bite Laws
Pennsylvania law regarding dog bite cases derives from both statutory law, including “Dog Bite Laws,” and common law. It is important to hire an attorney who can help you determine the types of claims you have and whether they are viable. For example, if the dog’s owner violated a statute or local law, you might be able to alleged a claim for negligence per se in addition to common law negligence.
There are also some commonly raised defenses to dog bite claims, including trespass and provocation. A dog owner does not generally owe a duty to a trespasser, and therefore a trespasser cannot recover for injuries caused by a dog bite gotten while trespassing. Similarly, a dog bite victim cannot recover for his/her injuries if he/she provoked the dog into attacking.